While the opposition and the left-liberals cannot help but defame the Modi government over the agricultural reforms in the country, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal has announced a major reform to help farmers and consumers across the country. He has introduced a new concept which can be described as ‘One Nation, One MSP, One DBT’.
Goyal has announced on Twitter that now the farmers in Punjab will get the payment for the produce sold at Minimum Support Price (MSP) directly in their bank accounts. This move is supposed to help small and marginal farmers.
उपज का दाम सीधा बैंक खातों मे जाने का लाभ, उन किसानों को भी मिलेगा जो किराये की जमीन पर खेती करते हैं।
सिस्टम में पारदर्शिता आने से वह किसी के बहकावे में नही आयेंगे, और इन किसानों को भी उपज का पूरा दाम मिलेगा।
— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) April 12, 2021
The idea is to introduce Direct Benefit Transfer in procurements at MSP in order to ensure that small and marginal farmers do not get defrauded, and receive full payment in their bank accounts. In fact, even landless farmers who are engaged in agriculture on rented land will also get the benefit of the Modi government’s latest announcement. This is going to ensure greater transparency and avoid the issue of leakages in MSP procurements by the government.
Goyal further said that once Punjab-based farmers receive payments in their bank accounts for selling farm produce at MSP, the system would also be made applicable on a pan-India basis. The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution further explained that farmers across the country will now get the price of their produce directly in their bank accounts.
The enforcement of a pan-India DBT system for procurement at MSP is a big win for farmers, and as such a major achievement for Piyush Goyal. By launching the scheme from Punjab, Goyal has also sent out a message to the Amarinder Singh government. Recently, there was a disagreement between the Punjab government and the Centre over the implementation of DBT and bypassing the Arhtiyas (middlemen) to pay out the farmers for their crops.
Goyal however is said to have refused to budge on the issue during a meeting with a five-member Punjab delegation.
Punjab’s Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal had reportedly said, “The Government of India refused to budge on the DBT issue and insisted that Punjab will have to transfer money directly to the farmers within 48 hours. Otherwise, they said, they (the Centre) will not procure from Punjab. They said that it’s their money, their food and this is the way they want it. They will not pay the arhatiyas (commission agents).”
Punjab’s Finance Minister further added that the state government had “no other choice” but to implement the DBT for farmers from the current season itself and work out a new mechanism. “The Government of India (GoI) had asked us to implement the DBT for farmers. We had sought more time….But the GoI dismissed our demand. We tried a lot but they did not listen,” he said.
So, with the announcement of one nation, one MSP, one DBT, the procurement process in Indian agriculture finally stands standardised, and soon it will also be freed from the clutches of middlemen and leakages too.